Racing mourns loss of pivotal owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum: ‘his legacy will live on through his horses’

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  • A leading figure in international horseracing and the deputy ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died today (24 March) aged 75.

    He was a prominent owner-breeder and had a huge impact on thoroughbred breeding.

    The blue and white silks of his Shadwell Stud operation in Norfolk have been carried to numerous Classic and Group victories and he was also a supporter of Arab racing, serving as patron of the Arabian Racing Organisation for more than 30 years.

    Derby winners Nashwan and Erhaab were among his stable stars, which also include champion sprinter Dayjur and present-day record-breaker Battaash.

    Sheikh Hamdan, UAE minister of finance, was champion Flat owner in Britain eight times and his horses also had much success on the international stage, including wins in the Melbourne Cup, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Belmont Stakes and the Dubai World Cup.

    Tributes have poured in from across the racing world.

    “It is a time to reflect on his achievements and his enormous contribution to the global thoroughbred and Arabian industries,” said a spokesman for Shadwell Stud.

    “His legacy will live on through his horses. Everyone at Shadwell is so proud to have worked for such a loyal, generous, humble and wise man.”

    Sheikh Hamdan’s retained jockey, Jim Crowley, said you “would not meet a more honest and loyal man”.

    “I will be forever grateful to him, it’s been an honour and a privilege to ride for him,” he said.

    Trainer Charlie Hills, who has guided a number of Shadwell horses to success including Battaash, said the sport “has lost one of its finest”.

    “From a phone call when we went into lockdown in January to check my family was OK, to taking [my sons] James and Eddie on to the podium after Battaash won his first Nunthorpe — just a couple of examples of the kindness of Sheikh Hamdan,” he added.

    British Horseracing Authority chairman Annamarie Phelps said he is “one of the great figures in our sport’s history”.

    “[He is] a colossus both here in Britain and on the international stage,” she said. “He is our current champion owner, a title he has held on no less than eight occasions, and while he will for ever be associated with some great horses such as Nashwan, Dayjur, Taghrooda and Battaash, his generosity, loyalty and investment into the sport has been immense at every level.

    “Through his vision and passion for racing, he built Shadwell Stud from its base in Norfolk into a truly global racing and breeding operation. Thoroughbred and Arabian horses as breeds have benefited inestimably from his determination for constant improvement, as well as his long-held love of the horse and the sport. He will be sadly missed.”

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